Encouraging Family Volunteerism

“This post was sponsored by generationOn” as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central”

Saturday, November 21 was the 25th annual Family Volunteer Day. Thousands of families participated together in activities to encourage community service and giving during the holiday season. It’s strategically scheduled on the Saturday before Thanksgiving to help kick off the holiday season in a positive manner by giving rather than receiving. The event is organized by generationOn and Disney Friends for Change. In my previous post, I suggested several activities that your family could use for inspiration for Family Volunteer Day. Today I’m sharing what our family did in honor of Family Volunteer Day and encouraging family volunteerism this holiday season.

encouraging family volunteerism

The best way to encourage volunteerism in children is to let them help decide what volunteer activity they would like to participate in. Gabe and I discussed a list of proposed volunteer activities, and he chose to collect donations for the local animal shelter. He had already participated in a canned food drive for the local food pantry for his school. They were competing with two other neighboring schools to see who could gather the largest donation. I was glad he chose something different, and Gabe loves animals.

encouraging family volunteerism

Here are my suggestions for volunteering at, or collecting donations for, your local animal shelter:

  • Call or email the animal shelter to ask if they have a wish list. These are items that the shelter needs the most. It might be dog food, cat food, treats, and toys, but animal shelters often need other supplies. They also need items such as laundry detergent, bleach, towels, disposable gloves, paper towels, and disinfectant. I doubt an animal shelter will turn down an in-kind donation, but it’s best to know what the shelter urgently needs.
  • If you can’t make in-kind donations, inquire about volunteering in the shelter. They can often use help walking and socializing animals, cleaning kennels, and assisting staff. Who knows, while you’re there you might meet your next animal companion.
  • You can also share information about available animals on social media to encourage pet adoption. This will help animals find homes faster, lessening the burden on the shelter and stress on the pet.

encouraging family volunteerism

generationOn seeks to inspire kids (and families) to get involved in their community through leadership development and service learning. It’s part of a much larger organization known as Points of Light, which is dedicated to volunteer service.

Did you participate in Family Volunteer Day? If so, you can share your volunteer story until December 3, 2015 at 11:59:59 AM ET on http://generationon.org/fvd to be eligible to win one of three grand prizes of $1,000 VISA gift cards and one of 10 “family night out” prize packages for dinner and a movie valued at $160 each.

Do you plan to volunteer as a family this holiday season? You can get more ideas about volunteer projects or projects in your community by visiting generationOn. Considering encouraging your child to participate in the 6th annual Joy Maker Challenge.

Even if you didn’t have a chance to volunteer on Family Volunteer Day, all hope is not lost; you can still encourage family volunteerism throughout this holiday season (and next year). The sponsor has graciously donated a $100 Visa Gift Card, and you can enter to win it using the widget below. The only requirement is that you leave a comment stating how you would encourage family volunteerism this holiday season (but you can grab several other bonus entries).


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  • Reply Angelina M Linan 24/11/2015 at 1:41 pm

    So great to teach our children how to care for others. We usually donate to local veteran’s charities and to our church. We have so many people around us who aren’t as blessed as we are. We aren’t wealthy, we just know that our lives are great because we have work, a roof over our heads and our family together.

  • Reply Heather Johnson 24/11/2015 at 1:57 pm

    I will explain to them why it is such a good thing to volunteer. I started doing volunteer work as a freshman in highschool and I enjoy it to this day

  • Reply Lyssa Sahadevan 24/11/2015 at 5:50 pm

    Our family gives whenever we can, all year. During the holidays, my son chooses his own way to help. This year he’s doing extra to donate to an animal shelter. 🙂

  • Reply Lisa V. 24/11/2015 at 5:55 pm

    We always help the elderly neighbors with shoveling the walks during snow storms and also volunteer at the local dog shelter.

  • Reply Sandra S 24/11/2015 at 5:56 pm

    My children worked at soup kitchens and homeless shelters all their teen years, and now they have their teens doing it.

  • Reply Margaret Smith 24/11/2015 at 8:07 pm

    My kids and I help out at our local Habitat for Humanity and we also help out at our church collecting food and toys for families that need a hand.

  • Reply harold 24/11/2015 at 9:02 pm

    We usually donate food to a local food bank, will do it again this year even though things are tight for us too.

  • Reply Stephanie Liske 24/11/2015 at 9:07 pm

    My kids help with the Boyscouts and Girlscouts, and with the Salvation Army.

  • Reply Kyl Neusch 24/11/2015 at 11:23 pm

    have family dinner at grandma’s

  • Reply Danielle Marie 25/11/2015 at 4:03 am

    i will remind them it is the season of giving and there are less fortunate out there.

  • Reply Cynthia C 25/11/2015 at 7:22 am

    My family donates items to local charities and volunteers at the soup kitchen.

  • Reply brandy c 25/11/2015 at 7:31 am

    By donating to the local Autism Society.

  • Reply Michelle Garrity 25/11/2015 at 7:46 am

    My family has always volunteered and I do Meals on Wheels every week

  • Reply Ashley C 25/11/2015 at 8:01 am

    We are adopting a senior citizen this year! Its like the Angel Tree program, but for seniors. Seniors that don’t have family and don’t receive anything for Christmas get listed on the tree along with whatever their needs might be, and you can help to make their Christmas brighter!

  • Reply Lisa Weidknecht 25/11/2015 at 9:24 am

    We purchase toys to donate to the less-fortunate.

  • Reply Sandy Klocinski 25/11/2015 at 10:22 am

    We are visiting nursing home residents

  • Reply Roy 25/11/2015 at 10:34 am

    At the family get together we’ll make out a plan to volunteer at animal shelters.

  • Reply RussR 25/11/2015 at 10:41 am

    We are volunteers by nature – there is always some place or someone looking for help. We encourage it by leading by example.

  • Reply jules m. 25/11/2015 at 11:20 am

    we will be giving out goodies to the local shelters

  • Reply Tamra H 25/11/2015 at 12:05 pm

    We help collect toys for toy drives in our home.

  • Reply Michelle Hill 25/11/2015 at 12:12 pm

    I am lucky to have thankful kids who give their time whenever possible.

  • Reply NICKIE 25/11/2015 at 1:41 pm

    We help in our community, with our neighbors shoveling snow, picking up trash etc

  • Reply McKim 25/11/2015 at 1:55 pm

    We volunteer at the community free Thanksgiving lunch.

  • Reply Aaron 25/11/2015 at 2:23 pm

    I will encourage family volunteerism this holiday by reminding us of our blessings.

  • Reply Debbi Wellenstein 25/11/2015 at 2:45 pm

    Every year we volunteer at the local soup kitchen.

  • Reply Thomas Murphy 25/11/2015 at 2:53 pm

    I will explain how it feels good to help people who need it.

  • Reply Courtnie Miller 25/11/2015 at 6:23 pm

    I donate clothing and toys to families in need.

  • Reply Erica B. 25/11/2015 at 8:19 pm

    We will be donating to a local animal shelter.

  • Reply Meghan Malicoat 25/11/2015 at 8:47 pm

    Before Christmas I make my kids go through their toys to pick out items to donate.

  • Reply Crystal F 25/11/2015 at 9:53 pm

    My oldest daughter has plans to ring the bell for the Salvation Army this Christmas. Thank you!

  • Reply Kim Kihega 25/11/2015 at 10:44 pm

    We will be visiting our grandmother in the nursing home, and also spend time with the other residents.

  • Reply Denise W 25/11/2015 at 11:03 pm

    My daughter and I are donating clothes to a local charity this Christmas. We will also be contributing some toys to others in need. 🙂

  • Reply Daniel M 25/11/2015 at 11:15 pm

    we run lots of programs with our church

  • Reply Richard Hicks 26/11/2015 at 6:45 am

    We help out with local food pantry

  • Reply Danielle 26/11/2015 at 9:47 am

    The day after Thanksgiving we go and help at the food bank, we also make stockings full of toiletries and donate it to the men at the shelter, we just did a toy drive and we our donating items to the new vets center at our local community college

  • Reply beth shepherd 26/11/2015 at 11:51 am

    We volunteer in the Operation Christmas Child every year. It is so wonderful to be able to send gifts with messages of love. Thank you

  • Reply Kimberly Hilbert 26/11/2015 at 1:03 pm

    We help in our community those that are in need. There are many small community drives that we are involved in.

  • Reply Jennifer Reed 26/11/2015 at 4:43 pm

    My children’s schools all encourage community volunteering throughout the year but especially around the holiday season. Seeing their parents become involved in these activities as well promotes and encourages them to do the same this time of year.

  • Reply Peter G 26/11/2015 at 4:48 pm

    Collect food for the needy.

  • Reply susan smoaks 26/11/2015 at 6:08 pm

    i encourage family volunteerism by showing my family how to do the right thing.

  • Reply Kathleen 26/11/2015 at 8:08 pm

    I encourage by leading by example.

    kport207 at gmail dot com

  • Reply Amie 26/11/2015 at 8:31 pm

    By donating money to charity for people in need.

  • Reply amanda sakovitz 26/11/2015 at 8:35 pm

    We will all volunteer at the food pantry

  • Reply Mami2jcn 26/11/2015 at 9:14 pm

    We volunteer at the food pantry.

  • Reply Janet W. 26/11/2015 at 9:41 pm

    I will volunteer and have my family members volunteer at a local men’s homeless shelter that is run by a friend of mine. It’s such a rewarding feeling.

  • Reply Julie Wood 26/11/2015 at 9:44 pm

    We donate time to help with the Salvation Army bell ringing campaign and feel that it is something that we enjoy doing to give back to the Community. We also participated in our big food drive for the needy.

  • Reply Elena 26/11/2015 at 9:52 pm

    we volunteer at our local animal shelter

  • Reply Jessica Beard 26/11/2015 at 10:00 pm

    My kids will go with my to pick out gifts for our Angel Tree family. They love shopping for others.

  • Reply Jessica To 26/11/2015 at 10:09 pm

    My son and I donate food to our church’s food pantry and clothes to it’s clothes closet.

  • Reply Leigh Anne Borders 26/11/2015 at 10:43 pm

    There are many ways to give back this holiday season, My family will be at our local food shelter helping them sort and get food items ready for those that need it.

  • Reply Karla R. 26/11/2015 at 11:04 pm

    We volunteered at our local shelter for their Thanksgiving dinner and it was so much fun.

  • Reply Brittney House 26/11/2015 at 11:58 pm

    I like to encourage them by taking them with me so that they can see how rewarding it is to help others.

  • Reply Rosanne 27/11/2015 at 12:06 am

    My sons are adults. I encourage them to visit their uncle who is in a locked psych ward in a nursing home. He has been alcoholic mentally ill for decades. He was almost homeless except for what my sister, mother and I provided. My husband and I bring food and belongings to the homeless. I encourage my sons to be good to the homeless 25% if whom are chronic severely mentally ill. Our society does a poor job of caring for this type of illness which is biologically based. Buy them a meal, give them bedding or clothing

  • Reply Hesper Fry 27/11/2015 at 12:33 am

    We help collect and bring food to our local food pantry.

  • Reply shelly peterson 27/11/2015 at 1:13 am

    We donate food, clothes and toys. My daughters volunteered at our annual turkey drive.

  • Reply joe gersch 27/11/2015 at 4:53 am

    my wife and I volunteered at an animal shelter

  • Reply Kristi C 27/11/2015 at 5:43 am

    I work at the local community action agency. My family will be there volunteering by packing up food baskets and delivering meals.

  • Reply Kim H 27/11/2015 at 8:23 am

    We have different charities that we do at work!

  • Reply Gina M 27/11/2015 at 10:58 am

    We are participating in my son’s school’s toy and canned goods drives.

    Thanks for the chance to win!

    wildorchid985 AT gmail DOT com

  • Reply Stephanie 27/11/2015 at 11:47 am

    we love to give food to those in need

  • Reply Natalie 27/11/2015 at 1:18 pm

    We volunteer at Feed My Starving Children to pack food overseas for hungry children.

  • Reply Kayla S. 27/11/2015 at 1:20 pm

    My whole family is volunteering to give out toys to kids in need.

  • Reply Kelly D 27/11/2015 at 1:51 pm

    I will have my kids help me shop for families in need through our church and scouts.

  • Reply heather s 27/11/2015 at 2:02 pm

    We just donated to Toys for tots and our Publix has a food donation area

  • Reply Bridgett Wilbur 27/11/2015 at 2:26 pm

    We always volunteer at the local church to serve those that are in need.

  • Reply Elle P. 27/11/2015 at 2:33 pm

    At the end of the year I do a good cleaning out of my pantry and we donate different food items to charity.

  • Reply Lee 27/11/2015 at 2:59 pm

    My son Jason enjoys helping the homeless whether it’s helping with an organized meal or putting together care packages.

  • Reply Tara F 27/11/2015 at 3:31 pm

    We are a family of Cub Scouts and a Boy Scout so we volunteer all year, but the holiday season, we try to doa little extra. This year,w e have organized a Toy Drive and adopted a platoon so that we can give locally and also appreciate the Troops who cannot get home for the holiday

  • Reply Jammie 27/11/2015 at 3:57 pm

    I will encourage by helping at the local food bank with my family.

  • Reply Tabathia B 27/11/2015 at 6:41 pm

    By helping feed the homeless during their christmas dinner

  • Reply Carolyn Daley 27/11/2015 at 6:57 pm

    We donate towels, clothes, books, toys, and other household items to charity. Our old towels go to a local non-profit organization called Cats Exclusive. Sometimes we donate our old books to the hospital because they have a lobby with shelves full of books. Patients and visitors can buy the used books for 25 cents to $1 so the hospital makes money for new equipment while those stuck in the hospital have plenty of choice of reading material. I used to volunteer at the hospital gift shop a few years back.

  • Reply Sarah Hayes 27/11/2015 at 9:10 pm

    we will volunteer for some community projects . we enjoy them as a family

  • Reply Mary Calabrese 27/11/2015 at 9:43 pm

    We try to provide a good example for the kids.

  • Reply Kristina Potter 27/11/2015 at 11:24 pm

    I guess today would be a good example of how I encourage my children. Today we bought 50 blankets from menards @1.50 each and brought them to our local animal shelter, while we were there my kiddos got to help feed the animals.. It was a great learning day for them.

  • Reply Sarah L 28/11/2015 at 12:49 am

    We wrap packages at the church to be given away with the food boxes.
    Thanks for the contest.

  • Reply Sarah L 28/11/2015 at 12:54 am

    I am following you on Instagram: slehan3, but Gleam doesn’t seem to know that.

  • Reply Leslie Stanziani 28/11/2015 at 3:39 am

    Two of my teenagers volunteer every Thursday at the service center (we homeschool so they have a more flexible schedule) .One works in the food pantry and the other one works in the clothing room with me.My other teenager helps out in the backpack mission so that children get a food on the weekends to have at home.My husband and younger son help out on weekends at special events like the fundraiser yard sales or the toy giveaways at Christmas.

  • Reply CandieL 28/11/2015 at 9:38 am

    We donate their old used toys and clothes to the less fortunate. Thank you

  • Reply SweepyD 28/11/2015 at 10:57 am

    By going to the local hospice and helping to make the families a little happier with a talk and some smiling.

  • Reply Liz N 28/11/2015 at 11:51 am

    We’re part of a local Jeep club – and many of our get-togethers include some kind of donations for the community. We already collected sleeping bags for the homeless (over 3,000 bags!), socks for the shelter (in the thousands!), and toys for a local toy drive!

  • Reply Francine Anchondo 28/11/2015 at 12:07 pm

    Donating food to the food bank

  • Reply Robin 28/11/2015 at 12:17 pm

    We usually donated canned foods to our local food bank.

  • Reply Karen Drake 28/11/2015 at 12:37 pm

    I am donating toys to toys for tots.

  • Reply Susan Smith 28/11/2015 at 2:05 pm

    My children and I help out at our church collecting food and toys for families that need a hand.

  • Reply patricia delgado 28/11/2015 at 3:26 pm

    My children and I make blessing bags that we keep in the car and we hand them out to the homeless people we see.

  • Reply jmahurin40 28/11/2015 at 3:42 pm

    We volunteer 2 visit and call shutins & 2 check on them and assist my elderly mom full time.

  • Reply Danielle Wood 28/11/2015 at 3:49 pm

    My kids like to pick an angel from the angel tree every year to help other kids who are in more need. We also volunteer at the MD food bank a couple of times a year

  • Reply Emily Morelli 28/11/2015 at 4:15 pm

    I am making volunteering as a family part of our experiential advent calendar.

  • Reply Breanne 28/11/2015 at 7:52 pm

    We’re going to donate toys and food.

  • Reply Donna Kellogg 28/11/2015 at 8:14 pm

    My Children come and help and visit the children in the Nursing home I work in. not to many family members come to see my clients so the children cheer them up.

  • Reply Shari Klyn 28/11/2015 at 8:40 pm

    My children always adopt kids at Christmas time and buy them clothes, toys, and food.

  • Reply Laurie Emerson 28/11/2015 at 9:06 pm

    Each year they go with us to volunteer at our local soup kitchen. This year they have gone door to door in our neighborhood collecting clothes and shoes to give to the homeless shelter.

  • Reply tina reynolds 28/11/2015 at 9:26 pm

    We volunteer and donate get involved a lot through the community and scout opportunities to give back and help

  • Reply Betty C 28/11/2015 at 11:43 pm

    I no longer have family at home so it’s just me to do whatever I can.

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